Cyber Workforce Exec Order: Right Question, Wrong Answer

Cyber Workforce Exec Order: Right Question, Wrong Answer
Shuffling resources, adding administrative process, and creating a competition and incentive system will do little to grow and mature the talent we need to meet the cybersecurity challenges we face.

The recent Executive Order on America’s Cybersecurity Workforce is intended to bolster public sector cybersecurity talent and improve our ability to hire, train, and retain a skilled workforce. Unfortunately, it ignores the real challenges we face in securing our public infrastructure: high turnover, outdated models, and an excess of administrative processes. Instead, the EO focuses on a series of relatively superficial initiatives seemingly designed to get people more excited about cybersecurity. These include:


• A cybersecurity rotational program• A common skill set lexicon/taxonomy based on the NICE framework• An annual cybersecurity competition with financial and other rewards for civilian and military participants • An annual cyber education award presented to elementary and secondary school educators• A skills test to evaluate cyber aptitude in the public sector workforce


While it's great to see the continued focus on addressing our substantial national cyber challenges, this Executive Order is an attempt to address a severe talent shortage by shuffling resources, adding administrative process, and creating a competition and incentive system that will do little to grow and mature the cyber labor force. 


It is time to accept that we won't be able to fill hundreds of thousands of job openings any time in the foreseeable future. By taking some tough, but necessary, steps to transform the way our workforce does its job every day, we can begin to address our collective challenges and position the cybersecurity workforce for sustainable success. These steps should include: 


Reducing bureaucracy: The answer is not to add administrative ov ..